Friday, November 02, 2007

CIO: Micro and Macro

I am too tired to write about CIO on the micro level so I will write about it on the macro. Last night was Night Seven. The books and experts and people who have gone through this say it takes about a week. But that is usually with one baby. With two, I think it takes longer.

Last night, Maddie cried out maybe twice, but soothed herself back to sleep in maybe 30 seconds. Avery cried out once around midnight. After almost a half hour we gave her a bottle. We are sort of on the fence with this: On one hand we want Avery to stop expecting nighttime feedings but on the other hand, we are okay with her having one bottle a night. One night she needs it, the next she is fine and soothes herself to sleep without it.

So Nicole and I seem to be getting more sleep than ever before. Hurray! Why, then, are we both so exhausted? My entire body hurts really hurts. We are both not sleeping well. It is as if we are back in the newborn stages. My sleep is not interrupted by them as much as it was just a week ago, but I am not getting into a deep sleep. I think we are just so on edge, waiting for the cry and the inevitable emotional turmoil that accompanies it. Wondering what the night has in store for us. Wondering when it will be over.

Because I am uncharacteristically at a lack for words, I interviewed Nicole (jacked up from her morning latte-with-double-shot-of-espresso) for her thoughts on this experience:

Q: How has the CIO experience been for you?
“Exhausting, physically and emotionally. The hardest part is not going in and picking them up. Hearing brand new screams and cries that I haven’t heard before. I am impressed with their creativity when it comes to crying.”

Q: What makes CIO so difficult?
“The fact that it is different every night. Someone will get up 12:00 one night and at 3:00 the next. No consistency. And for different reasons: Is it random pacifier pop-in time [for Maddie] or is this hungry time [for Avery]? Are they uncomfortable? Are their heads stuck between the spindles and they are about to break their necks? I don’t know.”

Q: What has surprised you about CIO?
“The surprise part to me was the stress between us. We are both fighting in the middle of the night over who should deal with it and how we should deal with it. What did we agree on? How did we decide to handle a situation? It’s hard to remember in the middle of the night.”

Q: What has been the easiest part of CIO?
“The one thing that is easiest is the bedtime routine. Avery is going down like a champ. Maddie goes right to sleep. Getting them down has been so easy. They both know it’s bedtime.” [for the record, bedtime routine goes as follows: Change into PJs; read Goodnight Moon; saying goodnight to relatives/friends while sipping on one last bottle; then crib. The whole process, start to finish, is about 15 minutes.]

Q: If you were managing this a project at work how would you do it differently?
“I’d be writing everything down at night and looking for any trends. The key thing is to find out what the cry threshold is. For Avery it’s about 20 minutes or a half hour. But that is gut instinct. I can’t defend that with data, so I’d like to have something written down that we could analyze. And I think I would have project meetings every morning and evenings. We would do post mortems the next day to talk about what went well and what didn’t go so well.”

There you have it.

Now some random wrap-up thoughts: The girls go to sleep at an incomprehensively early 6:30 pm and they sleep until 6:30 or 7:30 in the morning. We are starting to have nights again. And Nicole and I actually had dinner together, at the table. This is a huge improvement from the solitary wolfing-it-down approach we usualy take. And I went out to dinner with a friend last night.

Their nighttime wakings are fewer and farer between, much better than when they were sleeping with us, that is certain. The CIO process has helped us turn a corner. It hasn’t been easy, mentally, emotionally or physically, but it is worth it. I know CIO isn’t for every family, and I can see why some people don’t want to do it. But for us, it is working. Slower than I would like, but it is working.

Pictured above, Halloween Maddie and Avery! Yesterday we went on a post-Halloween spending spree and paid 50 percent or more less for all sorts of Halloween decorations. I’ve said it before but I will say it again: I LOVE Target!!


Amy said...

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in night-time sleep issues bringing about bad arguments between you and Nicole.

My husband and I, who are quite lovely to one another during the day, become different people at night.

I took to calling him the night monster. We used to have to talk about our plan for the night before we went to sleep so we didn't have to talk to each other during the night!

The good news is, for us it went away when the sleep issues abated.

Of course, I'm sure it will rear it's ugly head at the next sleep regression...

Pics are adorable!

gold star said...

Those pictures are hilarious. Maddie got spooked on Halloween?

I also love the interview. I'm so glad CIO is going so well for the four of you! You all are champions.

Anonymous said...

Went to Target yesterday for drano....came out with way more than that. All the while singing my brand new in my town target. Just love it. Saw the shirt one of your kids has, my mom rocks me to sleep. Almost bought it...but i don't yet have kids. Thanks from a lurker. Melissa

Shelli said...

LOVE the pictures.


We kept giving Malka a middle of the night bottle until she was about 9 months old, then we were like - Dude, you SO don't need it. You could probably get rid of that night bottle even earlier than we did, truth be told.

THey WILL fall into a routine, but sometimes, they like to mix it up a bit, just for "fun." It could be those damn teeth, or gas, or a dream, or what have you, but even last night, Malka was "fussing" (the cry that's "almost" the crib is on fire cry, but not quite), and she resettled herself after an hour.

You will learn when to go in, and when to let them "work it out."

The BEST part, is that Malka goes to sleep. When we put her in her crib.


calliope said...

that 2nd photo is cracking me up!

& hurrah for more sleep and more dinners with each other!

Anonymous said...

Bless your hearts-keep working at it. My daughter and her husband started with the baby sleeping with them because it was easier to breast feed in the middle of the night. He never did transition to his crib. Two years later number two comes along (who I might add was conceived on the nursery floor because the boy was in THEIR bed)so now, Mama sleeps with the boy in his room, and Daddy sleeps with the two year old in their bed. They know they made a mistake, but it's too late now!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that it is starting to get better. Trust me it will. I wanted to ask you something and if I am out of line please forgive me. The girls look so much like Nicole in pictures that my partner and I were wondering if you used Nicole's eggs? My partner and I wanted so badly to do this but her eggs were no good so both of our boys were conceived using my eggs only. I am now currently 23 weeks wit hour second one.
Good friends of our did this, they fertilized the eggs from one and placed it onto the other. It is as close as we lesbians can get to making babies.

Motel Manager said...

I love the interview! It sounds like you've made some real progress with the CIO. It is SO nice to get the couple time back once you can get the baby(ies) to bed reliably.

I love Target, too.

kate said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with CIO...we are trying to decide if/when/how to implement this so it is very helpful to read.

Two questions -- the girls are in the same room but different cribs, right? They don't wake each other when one cries? And what about daytime naps, do you have a schedule? Do they nap in their cribs?